How much will insurance pay for your totaled car? Ask and you shall receive!

Ok, let’s say you’ve had a car accident, thankfully no one was hurt! Oh, actually, your car is hurtin’ pretty bad and you think it might be totaled; sadly, this is often the case. Is it really totaled? Well let’s see, did the airbag deploy? Is there damage to more than one side of your car? Is it driveable? If one or more of these answers is ‘yes’, it is safe to say it’s totaled. Depending on your situation, this could be good or bad but either way you need to get educated. So how do insurance companies determine whether your car is a total loss?

 

  • 1. Damage is so severe that the car can’t be repaired safely.
  • 2. The cost of the repairs is more than the vehicle is worth.
  • 3. Vehicle damage is so severe that state regulations dictate that it must be considered a total loss car.

 

How Much?

If in fact, your car is totaled by insurance standards, how much cash can you expect to receive for it? First off, you need insurance to file a claim so if your insurance coverage has lapsed or your policy limits your claim amount, you may be stuck, but if that’s all good, file away! There is no gold standard for determining your car’s cash value once totaled (This may work in your favor). Though all insurance companies have a basic formula for reaching this number, there are simply too many variables involved for a simple online form approach. Here’s where the insurance company will focus their search but it’s almost always up for discussion in the end.

  • 1. Actual Cash Value is determined. That’s the resale price for your vehicle if it hadn’t been totaled. The insurance company will look at recent listings and sales for similar vehicles in your area.
  • 2. Pre-accident condition is considered. Your car’s mileage, options, trim level, and any pre-accident damage.
  • 3. Your deductible. The insurance deductible you choose for your insurance policy is held back from the payout amount for your claim.

 

Now that your detectable is satisfied, insurance is supposed to pay the estimated difference between your vehicle’s pre-accident appraised value and the deductible amount. The key word here is “Estimated” and whose estimation we’re talking about. Getting the highest insurance payout for your totaled car may take some haggling. Ask for the best price! Truth is most people just accept the first offer the insurance company throws at them without question. Remember this is a negotiable figure so here’s how to get your own rough estimate.

  1. 1. Find the NADA (National Automobile Dealers Association) Value for your car in fair condition.
  2. 2. Work out 20 to 40 percent of the fair condition value, depending on how bad your total loss car’s condition is. It’s probably closer to the 20 percent mark.
  3. 3. Keep depreciation in mind, your car is losing value daily.

 

Diminished Values

What if your car just needs repairs? Be prepared; your car’s value may drop due to repairs after the accident, this is called diminished value. It’s perceived trade or sale value is less than same model vehicles that have never been involved in an accident. Repairing the car won’t recover this lost value. However, like your totaled value, this is a negotiable number. Prepare to pass on the first offer and knuckle up to get the best settlement possible. In some cases it may be necessary file a claim against the other driver. This can sometimes force the insurance company to up their offer to avoid expensive attorney’s fees. You may also offer the court an expert witness. A car dealer may be able to present “actual” diminished values that are higher and more acceptable than the insurance company’s.

You might be surprised at how much you can increase your car’s totaled or diminished value with a little insurance savvy. Need help? Ask Mike, text or call (757) 560-4252 and ask for Mike Love. I’ve helped my customers successfully negotiate as much as $2500.00 over their insurance company’s offer. I strongly advise you to stay in the fight when it comes to the final settlement. It’s totally worth it!

 

Source

carbrain.com. “How much insurance pays for totaled car” BLOG, etrailer.com, Web. 10, 25, 2018 Sourced from: https://carbrain.com/Blog/how-much-insurance-pays-for-totaled-car Accessed 4 Sept 2018

 

COUNTING CARS

Can one have too many cars? Well, as a used car dealer my knee jerk reaction is…, never! I mean I have around 20-30 at all times and seldom drive the same one two days in a row, it’s great! Ok, I get that I might possibly be a little tiny bit bias but still, is that something that people are concerned with? Should we be considering the risks of owning too many cars or is there even such a thing?

It’s easy to imagine that most people own 2, maybe 3 cars each, considering the variety of styles available, and the level of importance most Americans place on their automobiles. However, the peak amount of cars per household in 2006 was only about 2.05. That number correlates roughly with the economy’s highs and lows as you might expect and the recession of the late 2000’s created a bottomless pit decaying into 2010 bringing that number down to a little over 1.8. The lasting effects of this were pedestrians choosing public transportation and carpooling over driving, some ultimately relocating to cities where no personal transportation was even necessary. Some of you here in Hampton Roads may remember the “big move” to northern Virginia beginning around 2012. Also, generation Y (millennials) who as consumers showed much less interest in car ownership due to conservation concerns and affordability also helped drive the percentage of car owners down.

This all makes perfect sense and predictably, these numbers have rebounded with the economy’s upward climb. However, there are some noticeable behavioral changes in the average car buyer. Americans today have fewer light-duty vehicles, drive less, and are consuming less fuel. Hmmm, more car but less motoring over all tells me we’re onto something. We want our cars to last, we want comfort and convenience and saving money is higher than ever on our priority list. Once bitten twice shy? You could say that car enthusiasts today are justifiably more discriminating. The economy, fuel prices, and the negatives of consumption are great teachers. In addition to a greater economy, many of those Gen Y millennials are in their 30’s now. They’re getting older and at a stage in life where salaries are higher and guess what… kids are on the way! The percentage of car owning millennials has gone from 14 to over 29. The fact is we need transportation and though specific demographics are bound to hoof it and others will take trains and busses, the majority of Americans love their cars.  

So what do the studies say? The total number of cars per household falls naturally around 2, going up slightly as kids reach adulthood and prepare to leave the nest. What we also know is that heavier duty vehicles are more popular and that car owners are spending more responsibly using less fuel, and driving shorter distances. So how many cars are cool you ask? Well, look in your driveway… that’s about right 🙂

 

Sources:

Schmitz, Matt. “How many cars does the average American own?” CARS.COM CARS.com. 15 March 2017. Web. 8, 20,2018 https://www.cars.com/articles/how-many-cars-does-the-average-american-own-1420694459157/

 

Stay with the Old, In with the New

Make Your Old Car Like New Again

Look out your window, and you’ll see Ole’ Reliable sitting in the driveway. The car that’s been with you for years now and still (mostly) runs great. Maybe you bought it new, used, or maybe it’s a relative’s old car. As nice as a brand new car might sound, those car payments…. Fortunately, here are a few things you can do to make your old car seem new! These tips and inexpensive fixes will get your old vehicle looking and feeling like it just rolled off the lot.

  1. Cosmetic Fixes

The most obvious cosmetic upgrade to your car may be painting it, but the easiest upgrade to make an old car feel new is a nice, thorough cleaning. Not just a vacuum and a car wash. To really spruce up your car, try checking off this list:

  • Shampoo carpet and upholstery
  • Clear out the trunk trash
  • Clean outside and inside of windows.
  • Remove the spare and clean out the tire well
  • Remove and clean under seat cushions. Consider getting cushions covers to make your life easier in the future.
  • Clean off floor mats or replace them with rubber floor mats, which are far more durable than most original versions.

A high quality professional detail is the way to get the outside of your car looking new again. Waxing and buffing can easily make old paint look new! If you really want to clean your car up, consider getting the engine compartment pressure washed as well. Your engine will look new again; it’s pretty amazing. Before going on the lot, all of the cars in my inventory are professionally detailed. I’ve used Gary, owner of Liquid Investments for years. He and his team do an excellent job for a reasonable price. Give him a shout (757) 477-5752.

After you work your way through a solid cleaning session, you car should already be looking good. If your steering wheel is looking a little beat up as well, you might consider purchasing a steering wheel cover for around $10. Another easy to overlook flaw that makes for a noticeable upgrade is your dashboard. You can add a dashboard cover or even paint it with vinyl paint to make it feel newer, and don’t forget to check the dashboard illumination. If your knobs or switches are broken, replacement parts are cheap whether they are new or recycled.  

  1.            Performance Upgrades

There are bunches of simple internal, mechanical fixes that can get your car running noticeably smoother and feel more comfortable. Check these major areas and see if they need upgrading: 

  • Headlights. Cars and trucks built over the past few decades typically have plastic headlamps that fog up over time. Headlight restoration is usually less than $30 and instantly makes a difference. A full headlight replacement can add a sporty look to your ride and will cost between $50.00 and $100.00 to do it right. (top vs bottom image)
  • AC. All cars’ AC systems can get mold, mildew, and bacteria build ups if not cleaned often enough. Make sure the air passageways into the vehicle aren’t covered by leaves, dust or grime before changing or cleaning any filters. Adding an air-conditioning deodorizer to the vents or your rearview mirror can bring back that new car smell, too.
  • Rubberizing. As your car ages, the rubber trim on doors begins to wear and tear, letting your hot and cold air out and wind noise and rain in. The adhesive strips take a little patience to apply, but are incredibly cheap and can instantly make the interior of your car quieter while driving.
  • Windshield Wipers. Old wipers break down and lose their effectiveness over time, making driving in the rain and snow dangerous. Upgraded windshield wipers make the cold, rainy seasons a little safer.
  • Brakes & Suspension. Old cars start getting stiffer as the years pass, and brakes get squeakier and squeakier with every red light. Getting your shocks, springs, dampers, struts, brake rotors, and brake pads checked and possibly replaced can completely change how your car drives.

**New springs can lower your car and improve handling if you’re a car enthusiast!**

  • Wheels. Tires periodically need to be replaced as treads wear down. Use the Penny Test (http://www.firestonecompleteautocare.com/penny-tire-test/) to check your car. Even if you don’t need to replace your tires, installing new tires can completely change how your car drives (and looks) and are much cheaper than a new car payment.

After working your way through these cosmetic upgrades and internal fixes, Ole’ Reliable shouldn’t look quite so old anymore and will be much more reliable! Have questions about these upgrades? Call 757-560-4252 and ask for Mike Love with any questions!

 

Sources:

Brown, Evan. “10 Ways to Make Your Used Car Feel New”. esurance. Esurance Insurance Services, Inc. n.d. Web. 1 Nov 2017. http://blog.esurance.com/10-ways-to-make-your-used-car-feel-new/

Huffman, John Pearley. “10 Ways to Make Your Old Car Feel New”. Popular Mechanics. Hearst Communications, Inc. 26 Sept 2011. Web. 2 Nov 2017. http://www.popularmechanics.com/cars/how-to/g175/10-ways-to-make-your-old-car-feel-new/

Karim, Andrea. “12 Cheap Ways to Make Your Car Look Awesome”. WiseBread. Wise Bread. 14 Dec 2014. Web. 2 Nov 2017. http://www.wisebread.com/12-cheap-ways-to-make-your-car-look-awesome

Winter Maintenance Alert

Is Your Car Ready for Winter?

It’s easy to forget about the cold ahead when it’s still warm enough for a t-shirt, but winter is on its way. Your car navigates dry roads and warm weather just fine! However, can it handle a cold snap and black ice? Now is the time to prepare your vehicle for winter as engine performance and driveability can dramatically decline in cold weather.

As you go over your winter prep checklist, don’t forget to replace old, dirty filters, such as air, fuel, and PCV. A poorly running engine is less efficient and burns more gasoline. You should also go ahead and replace old windshield blades. If you’re particularly worried about the frost, rubber-clad or winter blades can fight ice buildup.

A few other things to check

 

Fluids

One of the best and easiest ways to winterize your car is to check your fluid levels. One of the most important things to double-check is your coolant. Ensure that there is the correct antifreeze/water mixture; fill it to the maximum line. You can pick up a tester at any auto parts store. Another important yet often overlooked fluid to check is your wiper fluid. You should get freeze-resistant wiper fluid to keep your windshield clean and ice-free. Remember to double-check your oil as well and replace it as needed.

Tires

On wet or frozen roads, low air pressure and worn down tires are particularly dangerous. Pick up a tire gauge at any auto parts store and try and keep your tire pressure between the recommended levels for your vehicle according to your manual (usually between 30 and 35 PSI). Check the tread depth quickly and easily using a penny! Place a penny between the treads on your tire, head side down. If the top of his head disappears, your tires are probably okay. However, if the entire head is visible then you may have to replace your tire, the tread is too shallow. You may also want to ask about getting your tires rotated to prevent uneven wear.

Batteries

Winter can be cruel to your battery. Not only does cold weather make your battery less likely to start your car, but it also reduces the battery capacity. As temperatures fall, it’s a good idea to inspect the battery as well as the cables, terminals, and fluid.

When checking over the battery, make sure that there are no cracks and that the terminals fit snugly. Check battery fluid by uncovering the refill hole. Refill with distilled water if the level is below the bottom of the cap. Some automotive stores like Advanced Auto will check your battery for free!

Emergency Kit

Important, but often overlooked, you should always have a safety kit in your car. Having a few safety items such as road flares, a jack, a lug wrench, and a first aid kit can save the day. If you don’t have one now, you should put one together soon! Once you have your basic kit, add these seasonal items to prepare for the cold:

 

  • Flashlight

  • Blanket, leather gloves, and hat

  • Bag of kitty litter/sand

  • Ice scraper/brush and small shovel

  • Leak-proof container of coolant

  • Snacks

 

By updating a few parts and keeping a strict maintenance schedule, you’ll be ready for winter and avoid costly breakdowns right before Christmas! However, if another winter is too much for your car to handle, let’s talk. TM Auto’s inventory is loaded! Take advantage of TM Auto’s Absolute Credit Approval on a used car, truck, van, or SUV.

 

Call (757)560-4552 and ask for Mike Love!

 

On The Road… To Health & Fitness

With the sun shining and temperatures rising, more and more people are gearing up for outdoor adventures throughout Hampton Roads. Outdoor activities can spark your fitness life and do wonders for our health! So how do you keep your health and fitness fun?

Make It an Adventure

The Road to Health & FitnessTraveling to new places taps into our adventurous side, adding variety and interest to our active lifestyles. Keep changing up your exercises and activities and you’ll never get bored! It’s simple, just pack up the truck and head out to enjoy one of the dozens of hiking opportunities offered in Hampton Roads. Take Fido and your friends to add a little spontaneity and you’re off! Hampton Roads is also home to Virginia Beach and Sandbridge Beach; a couple five star spots with good surf, paddle-boarding, and a thriving boating community for those who are more at home in the water than next to it. Virginia Beach has an obstacle course in the trees and a beach conditioning facility on the sand. Sandbridge also has playgrounds and fishing and leans towards the back to nature side of fitness, with such spots as Back Bay Wildlife Refuge & False Cape State Park.

Whether you want to venture through tree lined paths and sandy dunes or catch a few waves, a healthy adventure is only a short drive away. TM Auto has your vehicle!

 

  1. Click to see – Small SUV
  2. Click to see – Full Size SUV
  3. Click to See – JEEP 

 

Fresh & Fun

Exercise is king, but health and fitness doesn’t stop there! Enjoying fresh fruits and vegetables instead of prepared or processed foods are one of the most important steps to staying fit. Luckily, for us, Hampton Roads is home to a wide variety of farmer’s markets and farm fields that are open to the public; just park and pick!

You Pick Farms Hampton RoadsFarmer’s markets stretch all across Hampton Roads, over a dozen all together. The experience of hand picking fresh fruits and vegetables ignites the back to basics side of us. It sets the tone for our entire summer! All across Hampton Roads are U-Pick Farms where you can grab a basket and harvest as many fruits and vegetables as you can carry. Check out the links below to find a close farmer’s market or u-pick farm and the TM Auto vehicle for the trip!

 

 

 

Farmer’s Market Guide http://hamptonroadsguide.blogspot.com/p/farmers-markets.html#.WRdL4IjytEY

U-Pick Farm Guide http://www.pickyourown.org/VAsoutheast.htm 

 

How to Get There

Every adventurer needs reliable transportation! TM Auto has a vehicle for every purpose to suit every lifestyle and budget. Please browse my website and See TM Auto’s Inventory. If you don’t see what you’re looking for, I can find it for you!

I’m always available to answer your questions, feel free to text or call (757) 560-4252 and ask for Mike Love.

Get out, get active, and have a great summer!

Turning Over A New Leaf

Start the New Year off right with confidence and a plan! Isn’t that what we say every year? Well this year I have a couple suggestions that may help you achieve these resolutions plus, peace of mind. Financial woes and poor credit scores are two of the most common causes of stress this time of year. Whether it’s challenging credit, no credit, or the need for more credit, finances affect our lives year after year. Tm Auto can help you establish or rebuild your credit this January and avoid “Tax Season” price gouging at the same time. By making stable, monthly payments on a large purchase such as a used car, truck, or SUV, you prove to creditors that you are a trustworthy spender. Every payment you make on time and in full raises your credit score; great news for just about anyone wishing to improve these crucial three numbers. Restoring your credit by purchasing a reliable automobile that would otherwise be out of reach just might be the plan you’re looking for! We offer “Absolute Credit Approval” regardless of your credit score so you can get started on that resolution right away!

You can also save on your used car between December and mid January! Due to suppliers capitalizing on profits as tax season approaches, car prices will go up at many dealerships after the first of the year. I’m able to offer some of my best deals up to January 15th. No gouging; just the most car for your money and a stress free car-buying experience.

            Establishing good credit starts by making regular, on-time payments but there is more to “turning over a new leaf” than this. Below are some suggestions that you may find helpful in the New Year.

  1.     Budget for a Credit Card – You’re checking account is in good standing and you regularly use your debit card, but have stayed away from credit out of a fear of going over your limit. There is no need to fear credit. If you budget correctly, a credit card becomes an easy way to boost your credit rating. It’s not much at first, but if the maximum payment is made every month, your credit rating will go up accordingly.
  2.     Always Pay on Time – Paying off the maximum balance on a credit card is great, but it means nothing if payments aren’t made on time. Payment history is the most important tool in establishing your credit score, and helps you establish yourself as a trustworthy buyer!
  3.     Keep a Low balance – Credit limits vary from card to card, and it can be tempting to use close to your monthly limit. As a rule of thumb however, you should only utilize 10-30% of your credit at any one time. It’s okay to go over this occasionally, but consistently going over this self-imposed limit can indicate financial irresponsibility.

TM Auto Wholesalers specializes in “The stress free car buying experience”. A purchase from our inventory can help you establish or repair your credit while saving you cash for holiday expenses! Feel free to contact me online at mike@tmautova.com, or by phone or text at 757-560-4252. Ask for Mike and start the New Year off right!

The Big Gift

THE BIG GIFT!

Is this the year? You know… for your teen’s BIG GIFT! That long awaited iconic symbol of freedom, sovereignty, and coolness. The singular most important possession that let’s everyone, everywhere know with absolute certainty, “I’m officially grown up.” This gift of all gifts represents the next chapter in your child’s life as well as your trust in them. It is the time-honored ticket to ride, their first car!

Like all astute parents and shoppers, you have questions… lots of questions. At the top of the list may be whether to buy new, used, or to pass down the family car. Well, rest assured that new, used, big or small, it’s going to be a hit. Your decision ultimately comes down to what makes the most sense.

The obvious choice is simply to pass down the family car. It’s often paid for and thoroughly road tested. When it comes to repairs and safety, nothing provides more peace of mind than knowing your car’s service record. It’s also likely to generate lower insurance premiums. There are plenty of good reasons to pass down the family car however; there are some “Not so good reasons” too. It’s a good idea to consider modern safety features such as side-curtain airbags, blind-spot indicators, backup cameras, and forward- and rear- collision alerts which are all good for new drivers. Passing down the family car makes sense as long as it’s safe and reliable.

New cars are also a strong consideration. The most up-to-date safety features and technology often come standard. Those with a good reliability record will need few or no repairs for at least the first three years of ownership. This means peace of mind, less headaches, and little or no maintenance costs. A new car is an easy sell as long as cost is not high on your list of concerns.  

Used cars are also a great choice. Affordable (not cheap) used automobiles are often the best way to go for teens and parents shopping for a starter vehicle. Buying the newest used car possible will likely get you the most up-to-date safety features available for your money. This is very important for novice drivers. By adding a few dollars for a good reliability record, you’ll have less repair costs and greater peace of mind. Check the CARFAX before buying to see it’s history. Small sedans and hatchbacks from mainstream brands, or even better, midsized sedans are great choices for fuel economy and lower insurance premiums.

This opportunity comes but once in a lifetime folks. Buy smart, enjoy the moment, and have a wonderful holiday! Find more articles on ASK MIKE’S blog here at www.tmautova.com and please share! Feel free to call or text (757) 560-4252 and ask for Mike Love. I’ll be happy to answer your questions and assist you with purchasing your next car, truck, or SUV.